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Eternal Sunshine

By: Jayde Lazier

Photo Credits: "December 15th 2020, Kelly sikkema, instant photo of the word “memories” in a jar."

 
 

When many of us hear the concept of an eternal sunshine, it’s envisioned as a positive phrase that inflicts prolonged happiness, but in reality, there’s a crippling sense of irony behind the phrase. In order to fully immerse yourself in this concept, you need to selectively pick and choose what memories you allow yourself to remember, which dehumanizes you in a sense. When you choose to remove your emotions from a situation or suppress hurtful memories, you’re depriving yourself of feeling. I know that it’s easier said than done and heartbreak is a horrible thing to have to experience, much like grief and regret. But even though all of these emotions are challenging, they are key experiences to being human. Without pain and sadness, we would never be able to grow as human beings. It’s from the pain that we are able to take an introspective look at ourselves and evaluate our choices in life.


The concept of an eternal sunshine is something that I find myself struggling to indulge in quite often. On a personal level, when a relationship in my life ends, it would ideally be a lot easier to just push down my feelings and act like it didn’t really affect me. In doing so, I can slowly start to force myself to forget or alter the memory so much that I begin to only remember the good parts. This makes it so that I don’t have endure the experience of pain, anger, or sadness, but in reality, I’m depriving myself of feeling human emotions so that I can live in a state of eternal bliss. I did this for so many years and it’s not been until recently that I’ve come to the realization that I would rather have a heart that can love so deeply that when that love ends, I feel such an overwhelming sense of pain. Rather than being numb and not allowing myself to experience risky emotions, I would rather learn from my pain and grow as a human being. Pain helps us to try and understand more things about ourselves and it aids us in becoming someone who isn’t afraid to face their emotions or too intimidated to deal with their issues.


This concept has been explored in pop culture many times, with the two most notable ones being the 2004 film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet and Ariana Grande’s new pop album, “Eternal Sunshine.” The film depicts a couple who choose to erase their memories of one another after they break up and slowly begin to forget that the other ever existed. Meanwhile, Grande’s recent album, which explores a variety of feelings, encapsulates emotions around trying to move on from a love and struggling to feel all the feelings. Ariana also released a music video for one of her songs on the album called “we can’t be friends,” which was an homage to the Jim Carrey movie. Grande is seen removing her memories after a hurtful breakup yet halfway through, she wakes up from the procedure and begs the nurse to please let her just keep this one last memory.


It truly is an extremely emotional music video that perfectly illustrates the intensity of human emotions and how, even though things can be viscerally painful, processing and accepting these emotions is key. We all have autonomy over our vulnerable emotions and we can choose to let it define and break us, or we can decide that it is going to make us into the most beautiful versions of ourselves. If we do, the next time we experience a challenge like this, it won’t hurt so bad—even if it does, we’ll be better equipped to handle it.


So, feel your feelings. Take advantage of the fact that you have such deep and beautiful emotions that when you’re sad, you cry, and when you’re angry, you scream, and when you’re hurting, you do all of the above because we won’t be able to feel for forever. Your memories are yours and yours alone so don’t eliminate the hard parts. As time goes on, you’ll come to find that all of these painful memories and emotions that you’ve experienced over your lifetime will act as the stepping stones to your truest self. That’s the kind of eternal sunshine I believe in. It’s important to remember that the sun does not constantly stay up and it does not constantly disappear. Sometimes it sets and then it rises again. Sunshine is not eternal and neither is pain.

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